A CALENDAR OF COMMON DYE PLANTS-PUSSY WILLOWS-COPPER DYE RECIPE

20 03 2014

HAPPY SPRING

SHORTY THINKS NAPS ARE IMPORTANT

SHORTY’S WAY OF GETTING READY FOR SPRING

A CALENDER OF COMMON DYE PLANTS

Some years ago I got a wonderful Newsletter from England.  It was about all sorts of needlecrafts including spinning and dyeing.  I looked forward to it so much.  The articles were wonderful and the editor was Rowena Edlin-While who has written a few books.  She and Dee Duke wrote a series of small books about spinning and dyeing and I purchased this one.

This was a very reasonable book and most of the plants listed are grown here in the states.  ONe of the dyes is Coltsfoot, a plant which is seen on the side of the road in April, it produces a yellow dye.  With each dye recipe there are interesting tidbits about the dye plant.

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PUSSY WILLOWS

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The pussy willows are in full bloom now, I have cut the branches that need to be away from the roof but they are still iced onto the roof.    I think I will root a few this year in water and put them in other locations. 

INSTANT COPPER DYE RECIPE

Always use caution when making this dye as ammonia  is a dangerous substance.  Read the label and wear safety glasses when pouring.

Place a 12 inch piece of copper pipe or anything copper (pennies will do) into a gallon glass jar which has a cover.  Also pour in one quart of ammonia (CLEAR NOT SUDSY) add 3 quarts of water.  Cover and let stand for 1 week.  When the color changes from a light blue to a deep royal blue its ready.   Drop in a handful of wet, clean fleeces, wet cotton or silk, most fibers will work.  You don’t need to stir it but don’t let the fiber lay on top.  Take it out in 15 minutes or before if the color is to your liking.. You may put the fiber in for a little longer if you want a darker color.  I would not leave anything in longer than 25 minutes as it can be damaging to your fibers.  I have found that 10 minutes is enough time to absorb the dye.  Rinse your fiber well

When we did this as a group and we found everyone’s dye was different, the result was many different colors of blue.  Try making 2 batches from water from different places..

This dye can be used for approximately 8 months to a year.  It’s best to make a new batch after that time.  Enjoy.

These gallon pickle jars are hard to acquire.  I had 5 or 6 from many years ago and have acquired a few along the way at tag sales and flea markets.   They were not expensive.  I have two that are allocated for dye purposes, once you do use them for dye they should not be used for any food storage.  The rest I do use for food storage. The Following picture was taken after only a couple of hours, I will post more picture of the dye in progress.

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Many thanks for reading my blog on this first day of Spring.  Hope your day is wonderful.  Carole


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2 responses

20 03 2014
Eliza Waters

Happy Spring Equinox, Carole!

21 03 2014
Anne Wilson

Last week I was tidying up our Willow arches, this involved pruning them back,using the pruning’s in other places, ours are very early this year and the sap was already rising, a couple of hours later my hand was twice it’s size! I am allergic to aspirin which is of course the active ingredient in Willow, I had never handled Willow when the sap had risen before!! Ended up with a visit to the Doctors, first in over a year for antihistamine treatment.
Did you get my email ref. catnip toys?
XX

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